Who is Pietro Fittipaldi? Haas's replacement options for Mazepin explained

Pietro Fittipaldi is set to stand in for the dropped Nikita Mazepin at the Formula 1 Bahrain pre-season test this week at Haas.

Who is Pietro Fittipaldi? Haas's replacement options for Mazepin explained

The Brazilian made a surprise F1 debut as Romain Grosjean’s replacement after he was ruled out of action due to his injuries sustained in his fiery crash at the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix, with Fittipaldi contesting the final two races of that season finishing 17th in the Sakhir GP and 19th in the Abu Dhabi GP.

As the official Haas F1 reserve driver, he is the first port of call for the American team when it became clear Mazepin would be axed by the team in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, while the team has also dropped title sponsor Uralkali with immediate effect.

Haas is yet to announce who will take Mazepin’s spot for the full 2022 F1 season alongside Mick Schumacher, but team owner Gene Haas says Fittipaldi will drive for the team at the Bahrain pre-season test.

Who is Pietro Fittipaldi, and is he related to Emerson Fittipaldi?

Fittipaldi has been part of the Haas set-up since 2018, after winning the final iteration of the World Series 3.5 title in 2017. He is well-known to the team, having completed seven test days across 2018 and 2019.

He is the grandson of double world champion Emerson Fittipaldi, and comes from an extensive racing family.

His great uncle, Wilson, raced alongside Emerson in Formula 1 between 1972 and 1975, peaking with a fifth place at the 1973 German Grand Prix, while his uncle Max Papis started seven grands prix for Footwork in 1995 before enjoying a successful career in Champ Car.

His younger brother, Enzo, raced in FIA F3 in 2020 and completed a partial campaign in 2021 before moving up to the FIA F2 championship with Charouz. The 20-year-old was involved in a nasty startline crash in in the F2 feature race in Saudi Arabia but has fully recovered and is preparing for a full F2 season with the Czech Republic squad in 2022.

What experience does he have in racing?

Fittipaldi started his career in BRDC F4 in 2013, winning once at Brands Hatch, before stepping back to the club-level Formula Renault 2.0 BARC series and taking the title.

After taking the massive leap up to the FIA European F3 championship in 2015, Fittipaldi struggled with two sixth places at Portimao his best results, but did win the Indian-based MRF Formula series over the winter of 2015-16.

Another step up in power in the Formula V8 3.5 series for 2016 yielded a podium in the final race at Barcelona, before beating a slim field in 2017 for the Charouz team.

A patchy 2018 followed as Fittipaldi attempted to dovetail a partial IndyCar schedule for Dale Coyne Racing with a WEC season with DragonSpeed.

Two broken legs on his WEC debut at Spa, when a power steering failure pitched him into the wall at Eau Rouge, meant he missed much of the year, with a single top 10 at Portland his best finish in six IndyCar appearances.

Pietro Fittipaldi, Dale Coyne Racing with RWR Honda

Pietro Fittipaldi, Dale Coyne Racing with RWR Honda

Photo by: Michael L. Levitt / Motorsport Images

After switching to the DTM with the private WRT squad for 2019, Fittipaldi he kept his hand in single-seaters with an F3 Asia campaign over the winter of 2019-20.

Since his two F1 starts as Grosjean's replacement at the end of the 2020 season, Fittipaldi has competed in multiple different series while dovetailing it in his role as Haas reserve driver.

The Brazilian made three more IndyCar starts for Dale Coyne Racing in 2021, again stepping in for Grosjean at three oval races, including a debut appearance at the Indy 500 where he finished 25th. He also made a one-off European Le Mans Series start with G-Drive Racing and even a handful of Stock Car Brazil appearances.

Why is he replacing Nikita Mazpin at Haas?

Fittipaldi is the logical option to replace Mazepin following the Russian's dropping, in the wake from Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The American-owned outfit announced at the weekend that it was terminating Mazepin's contract and its title sponsor Uralkali with immediate effect, due to Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

Mazepin’s dismissal means the team now faces an urgent task to work out its plans for who will line up alongside Mick Schumacher for the start of the 2022 F1 season later this month.

Fittipaldi is the team’s official reserve driver but while team boss Haas has said Fittipaldi will be drafted in for the Bahrain test, he is mindful about the need for a potentially more experienced driver for the bulk of the new campaign.

Nikita Mazepin, Haas F1 Team

Nikita Mazepin, Haas F1 Team

Photo by: Carl Bingham / Motorsport Images

Who else could replace Mazepin at Haas?

Given Fittipaldi’s limited F1 experience, Gene Haas has been open about assessing other options to fill the 2022 F1 race seat.

“We’re in the process of looking at several candidates, we’ll see who is available and what we have to deal with, but we’ll have somebody by Wednesday,” Haas was quoted by Associated Press.

One leading candidate for the Haas race seat is Antonio Giovinazzi, who lost his place at Alfa Romeo at the end of last season and has switched to Formula E.

The Italian is part of the Ferrari reserve line-up alongside Schumacher, and had been due to attend non-clashing F1 races this year to fulfil a reserve driver role for the Maranello team. Haas could elect to race the Italian for part of the season, or agree terms for a full-time contract if he can get out of his FE commitments.

Another name touted for the race seat is former Renault, Force India, Sauber and Williams F1 driver Nico Hulkenberg.

The German is current Aston Martin F1 reserve driver but given his commitments to the Silverstone-based squad a settlement between the teams would be needed to release him from his current role.

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